With Spidey to make his MCU Debut in Civil War (out in Europe today, stateside in a week) and the knowledge that his first MCU solo film will be called Spider-Man: Homecoming, I felt it was time to sit down and pull together my top five list of Spidey villains along with story arcs that would potentially make sense given the info available. I won’t call myself a Spider-Man expert but I am definitely a Spidey fanboy. I mean, I’ve got the shoes and everything!
Seriously, Spider-Man, to me, is the best comic book character out there. And it all boils down to his identity: Peter Parker. I’ve always appreciated how he works so hard to try to not only be the hero as Spider-Man, but to be Peter Parker – student, friend, nephew, normal guy. Despite his awkwardness, financial deficiencies, and his feelings of anger and inadequacy, he always makes the tough/right decision. Also, being a younger hero, he brings an untainted perspective to the table that provides a stark contrast to those around him. Borderline naivete, it brings to the Avengers a more human/real-person view. He also has the corniest humor which is really the icing on the cake for me.
Now he already has one successful run of movies (Let’s ignore Spider-Man 3, shall we?) and one reboot that was ho-hum. In putting together my Top 5 I tried to keep in mind a couple of rules to follow. Here’s a list of variables I used when putting together my list:
If you appeared in either of the Amazing Spider-Man movies, you are ruled out. This was a tough one because Green Goblin is really such a wonderful Spider-Man villain but as much as I’d love to see MCU put together something Goblin related, it’s just too soon. However, the original trilogy is fair game.
I’d prefer a villain that will be interesting in contrast to a younger Peter Parker. I’m excited that Marvel is going for a much younger style of Spider-Man. The first movies really breezed through his high school years and with Amazing Spider-Man I really didn’t get the sense that Parker was an actual student. I knew he was in high school but it seemed like more of a back drop as opposed to the burden/responsibility it often is for comic book Peter.
It’s okay if multiple villains are introduced but there can be ONLY ONE primary villain. I can definitely see a world where Eddie Brock or Harry Osborne are introduced as characters. But they need to be slow burn villains that are given time to develop. Let’s focus on villains that can carry a movie. I would not mind seeing two villains if it makes logistic sense to the story. But the story has to drive the presence of the characters.
The villain needs to make sense in the peripheries of the MCU. This rule is a bit fast and loose. But with RDJ in to portray Ironman in Homecoming I think it’s important to keep that in the back of my mind. Having characters that can take advantage of the opportunity that preexisting heroes really helps. It’d be nice to set something up for the grander MCU.
Alrighty. Rules are set. Thoughts have been gathered. Villains will be listed with preferred alter-egos and my ideas for casting. Now, let’s get to the Top 5:
It would be awesome to see Vincent D’Onofrio on the silver screen playing a released, reborn, and refocused Kingpin. He’s done just fine carrying his own weight in other films so he’d be no stranger in a blockbuster. Usually associated with Daredevil, Kingpin is a great villain in the Spidey-verse particularly because his ruthlessness contrasts so strongly to Spidey’s strong moral compass. He also has very little in the way of humor which makes dialogue with the wisecracking Spider-Man comedic gold. It provides potential story lines built around Spidey’s everyday encounters with standard street crime – you can see how a high school kid superhero can end up crossing paths with Kingpin. You also have the built in bonus of introducing the whole Hell’s Kitchen MCU to the big screen. However, Kingpin is already pinned with Daredevil and I highly doubt Marvel will move any of its Netflix entities into cinema. Too bad, because Mr. D’Onofrio is ready to kick some webbed ass.
Regardless of which origin you want to follow (standard or Ultimate universe) I think Black Cat would fit well in MCU’s Spider-Man. Although she’s less a villain and more of an anti-hero, having a young Spider-Man stumble upon Hardy mid-robbery would fit well into the younger take on the character. Additionally, Black Cat’s affinity for the wallcrawler can create excellent character dynamics – especially if she ends up becoming infatuated with Spidey as she does in the comics. Nerdy/awkward Parker + sensual Hardy = hilarity. In the Ultimate-verse, it’s particularly amusing when she finds out that this man she is infatuated with is a kid! I can imagine Luddington being a strong candidate because she’s voiced over a strong, lead-role female (Lara Croft, Tomb Raider games) and does a good job playing a damaged tough girl on Grey’s Anatomy. My only concern is that Black Cat is probably too minor a villain to take the spotlight in a movie but I could definitely see the character being introduced in a supporting role. Finally, her character has strong plot connections to Kingpin and Daredevil which would help bridge her to other stories in the MCU.
Yes, you read that right. Wesley Snipes as Kraven. Why? Because Kraven is one of the cheesiest villains in the Spider-Man universe. He is also lethal as hell. At this point in his career, I think Snipes has embraced the outrageousness. Did anyone watch Expendables 3? And he’s got it in him to be on the wrong side of crazy. Could you picture Snipes in a dark room, watching the news and sharpening the blade of his sword – big game trophies and old headlines on the walls around him – and then he sees Spider-Man. The ultimate trophy. Oh man, I think Snipes would rock that part. He always had a good sense of humor and this would give him an opportunity to play to both his physical strengths and comedic timing. As far as grander connections, I feel like Kraven really on makes sense in the Spider-Man universe but the character and story would be strong enough to build
We’ve now gotten to the last two entries. I flip-flopped back and forth between the characters and have decided to label them 1a and 1b because it was so close. I recommend casting both characters using actors from Game of Thrones. I ended up going with Doc Ock as 1b because he’s already been in a movie but you would not need to twist my arm to make him top choice.
#1b Doctor Octopus/Otto Octavius/Peter Dinklage
There is so much potential for awesome here. First off, we know that Tony Stark is going to be in Homecoming. Imagine Dinklage as the Doc Ock who is using Stark’s funding to create tentacle arms to give him more mobility and strength due to his condition. Stark finds out and shuts him down. Dinklage is bitter and angry and tries to go in after hours to retrieve his creations. A conflict with security ensues and in an accident, Octavius machines merge with him and his dream comes true. But unlike in the first iteration of Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2, the good doctor turns bad because he realizes the power he has gained and now that he is no tempered by his physical limitations, he can do anything he wants. At his core, he is a villain. Spider-Man tries to defeat him but cannot on his own. Enter Ironman with technology based on Doctor Octopus’ design. That’s right… Iron Spidey. My only concern is that the screen may break from the charisma Dinklage and Downey, Jr. bring to the table.
#1a Scorpion/MacDonald “Mac” Gargan/Aidan Gillen
I know what you’re thinking: “Scorpion? Really?” Look, I doubt Scorpion would be anyone’s first choice but hear me out. Scorpion’s origin is a great storyline for a first Spider-Man movie because it involves another one of the key characters of the Spidey-verse: J. Jonah Jameson. So how can it play with what we know? Gargan is a PI hired by Jameson to figure out how Parker gets such great pictures of Spider-Man. Think of the complications that’s going to bring into the life of high school kid, Peter Parker. But because Spider-Man has spider sense, Gargan can never get close. How frustrating? Imagine the confrontation between Gargan the PI and Parker the kid. I think there’s an opportunity for lots of solid storytelling and character development.
Okay, so let’s say Jameson and Gargan pull together and decide to steal tech from Stark which is the Scorpion technology. Unfortunately, the process goes awry and Gargan turns on Jameson which forces Spider-Man to save him. Simple enough but I’ve always found that Jameson is one of Spider-Man’s more interesting “villains.” A movie built around his hatred of Spider-Man and the terrible things he would do to discover his secret – that would be interesting. I’ve suggested Aiden Gillan because I see Scorpion as equal parts resourceful and greedy. He has done an excellent job in Game of Thrones (as well as his run in The Wire) of playing parts that requirement a fair amount of guile. I think he’d be a great Scorpion.
So there you have it. My suggestions for a strong first showing of Spidey in the MCU. I think Doc Ock is more compelling as a doorway to much grander storylines but for a first showing, the conflict between Jameson and Spider-Man would make for a great first foray into the world of Spider-Man by Marvel.